Chair Ryan Statement at the Open World FY 2022 Budget Hearing

2021-03-02 10:07

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Open World FY 2022 Budget.

Today we have Ms. Jane Sargus, the executive director of the Open World Leadership Center.  Ms. Sargus thank you for being here today to discuss the budget request for the Open World Leadership Center.  I also understand that you are also requesting to be called, the Congressional Office for International Leadership and that this name change is intended to reflect the mission and Congressional affiliation of the agency more accurately.

This year you are requesting $6 million in fiscal year 2022.  This is the same as the fiscal year 2021 funding.  Although the budget for the your organization is small as compared to the rest of our Legislative Branch Agencies, it has had a real impact in increasing understanding of, and appreciation for, United States democratic values and democratic institutions in an area of the world where Russia’s malign influence stands firmly opposed to our democratic principles and national security interests.

Your small but influential organization does this by facilitating visits to the United States on a geographically and professionally broad cross-section of emerging leaders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit the United States.

I understand the Center continues to use the strength and expertise of local volunteer organizations and cost-sharing in grant proposals to maximize savings. This is a benefit to the taxpayer, visiting countries, and local communities — a win-win for everyone involved.

International exchange programs are a proven and cost-effective way for the United States to remain internationally competitive, develop leaders friendly to American interests, and promote American values worldwide.  These programs support global engagement that is critical to our prosperity and national security.

We are thankful for the leadership of the Center, its staff, and the many volunteers across the United States who have worked hard to ensure the success of Open World or the Congressional Office for International Leadership.

117th Congress